DIAMOND, Mo. — It would have been a lot faster to use modern construction materials and technology to rebuild a piece of Four State history.
But the end result wouldn’t have been the same.
Can you imagine a harder, hotter job this time of year than digging in the dirt and moving hundreds of pounds of rocks around each day for six days a week?
That’s what five members of a historic preservation crew from the National Park Service did for a four-week period of time in the blazing heat.
“I think it looks fantastic,” said Jim Heaney, Park Superintendent, Carver National Monument.
Their toil is now complete and Park Superintendent Jim Heaney couldn’t be more appreciative.
“It’s historically appropriate, yet it still retains that frontier quality so you really get a sense of how this property looked when Carver spent his early years here,” said Heaney.
Crew members dissembled the existing structure and then reassembled using a combination of rocks, both old and new.
“Trace amounts of it were from the original wall that would have been here in Carver’s time. There’s also a good bit from the restoration work to the wall that was done in the 50s, about a fifth of the fieldstone is new,” said Heaney.
The type of construction is called dry stone masonry and doesn’t include concrete, but should last for decades to come.
“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. Trails, wildland fire, and now with the Historic Preservation Training Center and I love it, it’s great, not a bad office,” said Derek Beitner, N.P.S. Historic Preservation Crew.
The work could be described by some as backbreaking but worth it in the end.
“You know, everything we do is supporting the mission statement of The National Park Service which is preserving our cultural heritage and history for future generations. So, I mean, I think we all believe in that and that’s why we’re here,” said Beitner.
The original wall is thought to have been built by Moses Carver, the adoptive father of George Washington Carver.
The cemetery includes at least 20 family members. It was rebuilt for the first time not long after the park was established in the 1950s and had been in disrepair in recent decades.
The $272,000 restoration project was paid for through the Great American Outdoors Act.